Hi, I’m Gabriel, an intern with Cultural Perspectives. Having heard quite a bit about the National Theatre of Parramatta, I wanted to share my enthusiasm.
It was established in November 2015, and resides in Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres complex. At the time, there were some humorous questions about how something in Sydney’s west could be a “national theatre”. But chuckle not!
This particular National Theatre springs from the rich cultural perspective of the Parramatta area (according to the 2011 census, nearly 40% of the population were born overseas, in non-English-speaking countries). On its website, the National Theatre of Parramatta proclaims that it’s “Putting the nation on stage”. The Theatre supports young and emerging artists, and stages new work – because it wants to reflect the Australia of today through imaginative and bold visions.
A little while back, a couple of the theatre’s Directorate team were on a national books and arts radio show, promoting their aims and artistic program. How refreshing it was to hear people speak about encouraging diversity of artistic talents from all parts of the community, and from multicultural backgrounds. This is a new training ground (and playing field!) for budding theatre writers, performers and workers – and audiences.
For instance, in 2016, the theatre’s program included “Swallow” (about neighbours who overhear each other but never actually exchange a word), “Stolen” (stories from Australia’s Stolen Generation of indigenous people), and “The Cartographer’s Curse” (a mixed-performance work by Arab-Australians about secret diplomatic events that affected the Middle East about 100 years ago). Just a couple of months ago was “Smurf in Wanderland” (a play about a Sydney football supporter’s odyssey through the ups and downs of fandom).
When I hear about these artistic works, I’m glad that the National Theatre of Parramatta exists. Here are stories that shine a light on the sort of life, ideas and imagination flourishing in the western suburbs of Sydney. And not just Sydney: Australia – and the world.
Visit the website: https://riversideparramatta.com.au/NTofP/
This blog is contributed by Gabriel, our intern at Cultural Perspectives.